Updated: Jul 31
How to End a Historical Novel Based on a True Story
When writing a historical novel based on a true story, it can be challenging to determine how to end it.
Unlike fictional stories, historical novels have a predetermined ending, and the author must find a way to bring their telling of it to a close while still keeping to the historical facts.
I don't have personal experience writing historical novels, but I do edit them quite regularly, so I think I can provide some insights on how to end one based on a true story.
The ending of a historical novel based on a true story will obviously vary. It could conclude with a reflection on the historical events, should offer closure for the characters, or it leave room for the reader's interpretation. Ultimately, it depends on the specific story and the author's creative choices.
But one of the most important things to consider when ending historical fiction is respecting the facts. While it may be tempting to take creative liberties—and readers can be quite forgiving of that—to do so in your ending is frowned upon.
Remember that the story is based on real events and people, so you probably want to research the historical events thoroughly and ensure the ending is accurate. If you're writing an alternate history, you don't need to listen to me here (though you still should